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By Martin Conway

The heritage of Catholic political events has lengthy been a lacking size of the heritage of Europe in the course of the 20th century. Martin Conway explores the attention-grabbing historical past of Catholic political activities in Europe among 1918 and 1945, demonstrating the an important function which Catholics performed within the upward thrust of fascism in Italy and Germany, the occasions of the Spanish Civil conflict and of the second one international warfare. Drawing at the findings of modern examine, Conway indicates how Catholic political activities shaped a necessary component of the political lifetime of Europe throughout the inter-war years. In international locations as varied as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria, in addition to additional east in Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, and Lithuania, Catholic political events flourished. encouraged through the values of Catholicism, those events fought for his or her personal political beliefs; antagonistic to either liberal democracy and totalitarian fascism, Catholics have been a 'third strength' in eu politics. through the moment global conflict, Catholic political activities persevered to pursue their very own objectives; a few selected to struggle along the German armies, different teams joined Resistance pursuits to struggle opposed to German oppression and for a brand new social and political order in accordance with Catholic rules. Catholic Politics in Europe will supply an unique key element of reference for 20th century historical past, for comparability with fascist and communist hobbies of the interval, and should supply perception into the present-day personality of Catholicism.

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Extra info for Catholic Politics in Europe, 1918-1945 (Historical Connections)

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The rapid rise and fall of the PPI demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses of political Catholicism, not merely in Italy but also throughout Europe during the 1920s. While its electoral success proved the willingness of the Catholic faithful to vote for and identify with a party that sought not merely to protect Catholic confessional concerns but also to provide a distinctively Catholic solution to the problems of modern Italy, the PPI’s subsequent disintegration also highlighted the difficulties of advocating a Catholic political programme that tran-scended regional and social differences.

The Christian Social Party exploited this provincial hostility to Vienna. It carefully protected the material interests of its predominantly rural electorate and in many areas of provincial Austria worked closely with the right-wing paramilitary groups, the Heimwehr (Home Guard), which had been founded after the First World War. Consequently, the party’s commitment to the rules of democratic politics remained no more than superficial and its bitter rivalry with the Social Democratic Party always threatened to destroy the new Republic.

Similar ideas were also popular among many younger Dutch Catholics during the 1930s, notably those active in the Gemeenschap (Community) movement of Anton Van Duinkerken, and in Ireland, where Catholic corporatist and authoritarian ideas exerted considerable influence over the Blueshirt movement. This uniformed organisation (the formal title of which was the National Guard) had been founded by elements opposed to The 1930s: radicalisation and authoritarianism 39 the Fianna Fáil government led by Éamon de Valera which had come to power after the elections of February 1932.

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